“God never called us to be nice,” Miller writes. (Loc 2345/2640) What? But after reading her book, I think I get it. Yes, we are called to exhibit kindness, gentleness, and the other fruit of the Spirit. Being nice is not in that list.
Being nice means we want to be liked and appreciated. We don't speak the truth and we avoid hard conversations. It can become an idol and it can stand between us and obedience. It is “false formation that has replaced conformity to Christ.” (Loc 2391/2640)
Miller shows us the bad fruit of niceness. We can look so great, so Christian, for example, but hide what is really going on underneath. It is a false virtue. It is being religious. It is pleasing people rather than God.
Miller takes the second half of her book to help us uproot the tree of niceness and replace it with one growing toward true Christlikeness. To help readers incorporate the material included, Miller provides a Scripture at the end of each chapter as well as questions for personal reflection or group study.
I am a bit stunned by this book since my parents demanded niceness as I was growing up. Miller's book has given me a whole new way to look at being “nice,” especially my motives for doing so. This is a good book for Christians who want to grow in Christlikeness and avoid the trap of being nice.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Sharon Hodde Miller is a pastor's wife, mother of two small boys, and the author of Free of Me. In addition to earning her PhD, she has blogged at SheWorships.com for nearly ten years. She has been a regular contributor to Propel and Her.meneutics, and has written for Relevant, Christianity Today, (in)courage, She Reads Truth, and many other publications and blogs. She speaks regularly on topics ranging from leadership to body image to Scripture. She and her family live in the Raleigh/Durham area.
Baker Books, 224 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review. The quotes above are from an unedited copy of the book and may have changed in the final edition.